Imogen Radford is the Project Lead for Tales from the River, which has involved young historians gathering stories about the recreational use of Brecks rivers over the decades. Ahead of its film launch tomorrow, she explains how the youngsters have benefitted from the project – and why she is keen to promote safe bathing in the Brecks
A tale of how the two rivers that run through Thetford have been used for swimming, fishing, boating and other activities for more than 100 years gets its first screening tomorrow, at Thetford Library. The Tales from the Riverbank film was created by young people in the Tales from the Riverbank and Ancient House history clubs – and was made using animation, location filming and other techniques, using archive documents, images, objects and oral history accounts gathered by volunteers.
The project, part of The Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme (BFER) supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund, was put together by filmmaker Lewis Wickwar, who worked with the young people during the week-long riverbank summer club in August.
Imogen Radford, Project Lead says: ‘’As an outdoor swimmer, keen to promote safe swimming in the Brecks area (in the Healing Waters project, also part of BFER), I am fascinated by the long and varied history of swimming in Thetford and the rest of the area, and I’m delighted that this is brought to life in this enjoyable film made by the young people in the project.
She was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and imagination of the young people and explains how they benefited from the project: ‘The young people learnt new skills. These included making fun animations and stop-go images, on location filming and monitoring, and speaking to camera, along with doing research looking at original press reports and images. They developed their creativity and used their imagination to turn the archive material and oral history recordings into entertaining presentations so that they could tell the story of their town and its river in a way that should hopefully appeal to all. They had fun and at the same time gained valuable skills and experience and enhanced their appreciation of local heritage. I am looking forward to everyone seeing the film they created.’
Melissa Hawker, Learning Officer adds: ‘It was exciting to share the amazing local heritage and memories discovered so far with the young people, and to work with them to share this information with the public in a creative way. The week was an excellent way for young people to gain valuable work experience, learn new skills and make friends.’
Tales from the Riverbank: recreation in Thetford’s two rivers over the past 130 years, gets its first screening at Thetford Library tomorrow (Saturday November 12, 2022), from 14.30pm to 15.45pm. At the launch, there will be an opportunity to look at some display panels chat with film creators and others involved in the BFER project. If you wish to attend, please email BFER.firstname.lastname@example.org.